The Chicken with a Broken Beak

I want to be the chicken in the front seat of that Cadillac
driving down Route 11. The chicken that reaches
for the steering wheel when there’s another chicken
in the road. The chicken that changes a flat tire
and the chicken that doesn’t get beat up for loving
other chickens. I want to be the red feathered chicken
with white feathered chicks. The chicken with big breasts
that doesn’t wear a bra. The chicken that can actually fly;
I’d soar over Pennsylvania, over cornfields,
and over the prison. I’d free caged chickens
and dig graves for dead chickens.
I’d tie a dollar to a string and catch the guards
who guard jailed chickens. I’d wear my human costume,
patrol the highways, and pull over chicken trucks.
Maybe I want to be a chicken because a chicken’s
life is short; a chicken’s panic is usually caged.
Maybe I am chicken when I don’t hold my wife’s hand
at the movies or on a walk through town. I’m chicken
when I pull my arm off her shoulder after someone
whispers, ew, homos. Chicken feathers have taken over
my face and skin and courage. I’m the chicken
craning my neck through bars and the chicken
with a broken beak.

Nicole SantaluciaNicole Santalucia is the author of Because I Did Not Die (Bordighera Press). She is a recipient of the Ruby Irene Poetry Chapbook Prize from Arcadia Magazine and the Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize from the Tishman Review. Santalucia received her MFA from The New School University and her PhD in English from Binghamton University. She founded The Binghamton Poetry Project, a literary outreach program that reaches underserved audiences, and she has directed the program for four years. She currently teaches at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and brings poetry workshops into the Cumberland County Prison.